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September 02, 2006
A three phase project to protect tribals and earmark biologically sustainable forests for an elephant reserve, is taking shape in Chattisgarh.
'Chhattisgarh has been attracting migratory elephant herds displaced from Jharkhand due to mining and deforestation since the early nineties. Today the State has about 130 elephants and this has led to frequent man-animal conflicts.
Helping Chhatisgarh in solving the "HEC' is Mike Pandey, his Earth Matters Foundation and a team of veteran elephant and habitat experts, including former Project Elephant Chief Vinod Rishi.
The three phase plan involves:
Rapid mapping of conflict zones and positioning trained kunki elephants from Southern States or Assam at strategic points so that they can push back wild herds.
Short-term study to ascertain location-specific problems and find solutions (electric or chili fencing, dithches, buffer crops, fire crackers) and restructuring compensation models.
Long term study to find appropriate forests: possible locations include Timur Pinga, Guru Ghasi das, Badlkhol amd Samer Sot. Examining the possibilities of insulating breached corridors or creating artificial ones for setting up an elephant reserve and introducing
strategic water bodies, elephant- friendly plantations and natural fodder plants in that designated reserve."
(Excerpts Indian Express Sep 1, 2006)
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